Expert comment

PPE production guidance.

Expert comment

PPE production guidance.

Dr Anne Nortcliffe offers guidance on how to safely produce PPE in the fight against Covid-19

Over the last few weeks, we have seen an amazing effort not only from the engineering community, but from people in all walks of life to help support with the production of personal protections equipment (PPE) for our frontline staff.

The University’s Kent and Medway Engineering, Design, Growth and Enterprise (EDGE) Hub team of engineers and scientists are also busy in helping the community of 3D printers, 3DCrowdUK, to produce face visors and masks safely.

Covid-19 is unlike any previous virus and when producing PPE at home, or in industry, the same principles must be applied as if you were manufacturing food to be sold to the public. Therefore, I have been analysing the scientific research into Covid-19 to help inform health and safety manufacturing of face visors during this crisis.

Research currently shows that the virus is still evident after four hours on copper and after 72 hours on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces. It is not as stable on cardboard, with no viable SARS-COV-2 measured after 24 hours, and SARS-COV-1 was not viable after 8 hours, which means for manufacturing purposes it is best to use cardboard packaging instead of plastic. Any manufactured goods of plastic or stainless steel within cardboard packaging should be quarantined for 72 hours before use.

Any workspace, keyboards, computer screens, door handles in the working environment needs to be regularly disinfected and cleaned using 62-71% alcohol sanitizer; clean clothes to be worn, washed in a machine at 60oC, and of course, social distancing should be practiced at all times in a work place due to the aerosol dispersion of the virus.

Therefore, when manufacturing and assembling facial visors, the following guidance should be adhered:

  • more than one person involved ensure social distancing 2m or more
  • wear clean clothes washed at 60°C for 15 minutes or more
  • wash hands regularly for 20 seconds, and sanitize hands using 62-71% alcohol sanitizer, 
  • wear face mask, and hair nets
  • disinfect manufacturing and fabrication surfaces with 62-71% alcohol and fabrication and packaging
  • use a lint free cloth not to damage visor
  • shake the visor when fabricated to check it does not fall apart when in use
  • each face visor to be placed in a zip bag and sealed
  • label each zip bag, showing non-sterile, single use, date of manufacture
  • store in a cardboard box, label the box with the content and date sealed
  • quarantine for 72 hours before use.

Dr Anne Nortcliffe, is the Head of School of Engineering, Technology and Design and has experience in engineering for the food and chemical sector.

The Edge Hub are proactively looking for ways to support key workers and regional businesses during this COVID19 crisis. Please contact if you would like to discuss ways  to collaborate or offer support at this time. You can also follow Edge Hub on twitter @CCCUEdgeHub.